Third Time Breathing

Rated: T

This story is a solo work by Pharaoh.

Chapter Three: Battle Start

Siamun's visit ended too quickly for Yami. Mokuba had headed back to his university days before, but Siamun still lingered about, spending time with his grandson and catching Kaiba's time when he was able. Yami and Siamun had shared a familial hug with one another as the old man left, tilting his hat to his grandson.

"You know where to find me," Grandpa replied. Yami nodded his head, a smile on his face.

"Of course. In Egypt."

Siamun merely laughed as the old man walked out the door with his luggage, the driver closing it after him.

Once their guests were out of the house, things instantly went back to normal. Kaiba and Yami rolled right back into their routine of ignoring each other for hours at a time while they worked in their separate spaces. Their offices, when one got right down to it, were completely different, built to accommodate for the other's work. Kaiba's was all business, with shelves dedicated to prototypes he had put together, and his powerful computer that could run all of his work seamlessly.

Yami's office... was...

Almost archaic. He and Siamun had that in common. Papers were scattered all over Yami's desk, even though the common method of information keeping was via electronic data on the Intelliglass. Sure, Yami adhered to that from time-to-time... but the only thing that seemed to escape it was his art. Yami drew a lot of concept art for Dark Rebellion, drawings on paper big and small that were brought to life by the 3D graphic artists at the game studio he worked for.

He was in the middle of a drawing right now.

His honey-brown fingers were covered in charcoal. Yami's arm moved across the huge pad of paper that sat on an easel, digging the charcoal into heavy, sharp lines that took up the whole of the paper. His wine-red eyes were narrowed as he drew furiously across the page, wrapping up the drawing that had been plaguing his mind for days.

There. Finished. Yami dropped the bit of charcoal in a small tin box, stepping back to survey his work.

A heavy, meaty body, with a skull for a head and a pinched face stared back. He tried to make it appear as if the eyes were glowing. Heavy leather wings poked out of its back, and ugly teeth bared itself to him.

The monster he had seen nights before.

Yami felt s shiver roll up his spine. He reached out, touching the beast with his hand. He could still remember the way it had barreled after him, how its piercing screech cut into his flesh. It was just a dream though... right?

But it had felt so real.

Of course, that morning all the damage the beast had done to the house was gone. There was no blood on the floor, no destroyed refrigerator, no ripped up marble floor. And of course, he had no cuts or injuries signifying the encounter. But still...

The nightmare (which must have been what it was) had shaken him. That beast, that... monster, had just appeared out of nowhere... like it had been summoned from hell.


Yami looked back to the picture. He looked into the small tin box sitting on the easel, picking up some charcoal. He scratched a name in the corner of the paper in his messy handwriting.

Summoned Skull.

The phone at his desk rang, making Yami practically jump out of his skin. He hurried over to it, peering over the desk to check out the caller ID. It was Kaiba.

Yami smiled, picking the phone up. He put it to his ear, leaning against his desk. "Yes?"

"Have you eaten?"

"Normally I'm the one asking," Yami commented, glancing at the clock. It was already past midnight. "No, I haven't. We should both be in bed."

"I have a few more things to work on," Kaiba replied. There was a lull, before the brunet spoke again. "I'll compromise by eating in front of you."

"I'll agree to that." Yami nodded his head, even though Kaiba couldn't see it. "I'll meet you by the staircase, then."

Kaiba didn't answer; he just hung up. Yami did the same, pushing away from his desk. He spared a glance at the drawing of Summon Skull before heading out into the hallway to meet up with Kaiba. He got there first, idling as he waited for Kaiba to join him. The brunet showed up about a minute later, and the two walked down the stairs together.

"What are you working on?" Yami asked.

"The schedule for the American release of the Game DiSK and Gauntlet," Kaiba replied as the two made it to the bottom of the staircase. They moved into the kitchen. Yami opened the fridge, digging around inside as Kaiba moved towards the cabinet where the glasses were kept. "Our translator is going over things."

"You're releasing it so early?" Yami inquired, surprise in his voice. He let out a hum. "That must mean Dark Rebellion is going through the same process, too." He just designed the game. He wasn't in charge of the marketing or releases for it.

"Of course." While Yami's job was done, Kaiba's was never-ending. He moved over beside Yami with the glasses, who was taking out ingredients to make sandwiches. The brunet went about his own business of pouring them drinks: orange juice.

The two worked in general silence, both their heads filled with their own separate thoughts of work. Now that the Dark Rebellion expansion was out on the market (and apparently doing extremely well, Yami was glad to hear), now Yami was left in a bit of a lull. He was returning to work the next day, having been taking off for Siamun's visit. He would most likely be pointed towards other game projects in different departments to assist, until the Dark Rebellion department needed him to design new layouts or story lines or anything of the sort. He always hated these lull times. While the other projects he worked on were interesting (most times), they weren't his projects. They belonged to someone else, and he was forced to follow their guidelines for it.

He wasn't looking forward to going back to work just yet. He wondered if he could afford to take a few more days off, but decided against it. He and Kaiba stood around in the kitchen, eating ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, and orange juice in companionable silence. Yami leaned into Kaiba, the taller man wrapping an arm lazily around him.

Even if things could be boring sometimes... Yami wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world.

As predicted, Yami's return to work was tedious at best. While he had enjoyed the small party for the release of Dark Rebellion, while the rest of the team was able to get back to work on designing small shop releases like new armor, weapons, and other downloadable content, Yami was dragged off to the other departments of the company to assist with other games.

That was fine; the company, Mirage Media, was a great company to work for. He had incredible benefits and had quickly rocketed to the top of the company with his creation of Dark Rebellion during his early days. They were also the reason he got his first meeting with Kaiba Seto. That day changed his life forever.

He had been working on a mobile game, Carbon Crush, a game about atom smashing. While he'd played it himself a few times, he found it boring to draft up new level designs. He could finish several of them in a single day. There was no challenge to it... just busy work so they didn't have to hire new people. Yami was only on the project for a couple of days before he began to felt drained. He envied the Dark Rebellion team. He would have rather of been on the customer service team for it than sitting around carbon crushing.

On top of that, Yami still had Dark Rebellion work to go over and approve before the team released something onto the Mirage Media marketplace. He was currently in his office, finishing up the last bit of work. It was already past nine pm.

He didn't worry about it too much. He was used to Kaiba clocking in long hours at the Kaiba Corporation office, sometimes not getting home until midnight or later, only to crash into bed for a few hours before waking up bright and early to head into the office again. Of course, on the flipside, Kaiba was not used to Yami being out so late. The other man was good about leaving work on time, and it was rare that he was out past seven o'clock. It was two hours after that.

It was time to go home. Yami decided he'd finish the rest of his approvals before he moseyed over to the Carbon Crush team tomorrow. Maybe he'd luck out and get another assignment. He wouldn't mind working with the Palace Builder team on some new mechanics; their newest release plans looked incredible.

Yami cleaned up his office (somewhat) before heading out. He checked his Intelliglass phone. While Kaiba hadn't texted to see what he was up to, Mokuba had, asking if he was doing all right. It was a weird thing to ask. Maybe he was wondering how he and Kaiba were doing after that proposal hint at the Game DiSK release.

Yami texted him back, saying he was good and just getting off of work. He moved quickly through the dim parking garage, waving to the security guard at front. He walked towards the back where it was darkest, coming upon his car.

He loved his car. It was a boring old thing, with an angular design, red paint, and wheels that lacked the LED lit rims most models had nowadays, but it had been his first car. Siamun had bought it for him, and Yami had practically jumped into the man's arms with excitement. It still ran and he liked it. Even though Kaiba grumbled every time he saw it, Yami hadn't given it up yet. He'd get a new model when this one couldn't handle it anymore. Simple as that.

Yami slid into the car, the interior lighting up in greeting. He plugged in where he was heading, home, and the car immediately showed the map on the Intelliglass screen. It mentioned construction was still going on at the Domino City bridge, so the traffic might be bad in that area. Construction had been going on for months now. When were they going to finish it?

Unfortunately, Yami had to go across the bridge to get to he and Kaiba's residence. He sighed, starting to pull out of his parking space. He glanced into the rear-view mirror, only to slam on his breaks, eyes snapping open.

A pair of huge, glowing blue eyes stared back at him from behind his car, buried in the dark shadows of the parking garage. Yami's mouth opened in shock, but in seconds, they were gone. A dull growl sounded, rumbling the ground underneath the tired of Yami's vehicle. A second later, all stood still.

Yami kept gazing into his rear-view mirror. His body eventually relaxed from its tensed-up state. Those blue dots... had they just been lights? Maybe it was another car... or just a lit-up panel in the garage. Whatever it was, it was gone now. Yami waiting a few more seconds before backing up again.

This time, he was able to exit the parking garage with no problem. The security guard waved to him as he headed out.

The good thing about leaving work late was that there was hardly anyone out on the road. Yami cruised along the highway, wondering what he should eat for dinner, and if Kaiba was already home or not. The lights of the highway were lit bright about his head, coloring the street in hues of bright orange.

It was hard to ignore the shadow that started to loom over his vehicle.

At first, Yami was confused. He wondered if some of the lights on the highway had busted, but as the darkness continued to follow him, he realized that wasn't the case. It was a shadow, a big one. Yami tried looking out his rear-view mirror again, but was only met with more darkness. His fingers gripped on the steering wheel... just as a piercing screech was hear above his head.

Yami looked out his window. The shadow grew bigger... but this time, and he looked out the driver's side window, he saw it again. One big, bright blue light, glowing in the darkness. Only this time, it was clear that it wasn't a bulb of light. It was an eye, a large eye, and Yami could see his stricken expression in it. The head turned, shiny and white, reptilian. Yami felt his foot grow heavy on the gas pedal. That was a...

...A dragon...?

"SCREEEEEEEE!" The creature shrieked in Yami's face, and the man wondered if he was going deaf, the pitch was so high and loud. He jerked his car away from the dragon, ruby eyes growing wide as he watched it open it's mouth. A bubbling, bright light began to fill in the back, against the beast's tongue. That was-

Yami was a game designer. He knew when something was about to attack him. Yami started screaming as he slammed his foot on the gas pedal, the car lurching forward as the huge white dragon shot a beam of light towards him. It missed him by inches, but not the road. Yami watched as the highway exploded behind him, concrete ripping apart as several cars following him went flying into the air. He could hear the wreckage behind him as he tore down the street, swerving and dodging several cars that honked at him.

What the hell was going on?! Yami looked back, only to see the dragon beat its mighty wings, taking off after him. Huge claws scraped against the highway, dredging up solid concrete and Intelliglass panels, ripping past other cars that slammed and crashed into the medians of the road. Yami yelped every time he felt the air rush by his car, knowing the huge monster was right behind him.

The Domino City Bridge was just up ahead. Its large massive structure would put some distance in between him and the dragon. The beast would be forced to fly higher and way from him. Yami was already pushing 100 mph/160 kph, but the car could stand a little more. A car flew through the air and crashed in front of him. Yami swerved the vehicle to the left, avoiding collision.

"Come on!" Yami shouted at no one in particular. He was pushing on the gas with all his might, hands clutching the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were white. He was almost at the entrance to the bridge, but the huge, blue-eyed monster was nowhere near relenting in its pursuit. It screeched into the night air, raising its claws and slamming them down into the road at Yami's car. It clipped the back bumper, causing Yami's vehicle to jolt wildly towards the bridge.

"Whoa!" Yami spun the wheel in an attempt to keep himself on track. Behind him, the dragon opened it's mouth again. Boiling white light formed against it's fangs, and in an instant, it shot out another huge beam of light.

The beam exploded on the bridge, right in Yami's face. Several cars in front of him instantly disintegrated, and Yami screamed as his car flew right off the road. It spun without abandon before crashing into the side of the bridge right in front. The airbag fired off. Yami's face and torso hit the airbag painfully, the red car flipping over the side of the bridge.

He was falling. Yami could vaguely see the world spinning around him. There was a loud splash. His car seemed to bob for a moment, as if floating. Floating...

Yami shook his head, pulling his face out from the airbag. He couldn't see out of one eye. His nose was bleeding, and so was his head, somewhere. He could feel the blood sticking against the side of his head and cheek, dripping into his ear. He was almost content to sit like that, until his ankles started to feel wet. He briefly wondered if he just pissed himself out of fright... but the water was frigid cold. Water...

His brain vaulted into gear. He was in his car. He flew over the bridge. He was in the bay. He was in the water, and he was sinking.

Yami looked out the window. He could already see water starting to pile up. His front window had a huge crack in it, already leaking water into the car. He shut his vehicle off. He tried to pummel the airbag out of the way, but he was already panicking. He couldn't get his seatbelt off either. A sharp pain was ripping through his body, but in his dazed state he couldn't figure out the source. Did he break something?

His Intelliglass phone vibrated. He shuffled around to free it from his back pocket, almost dropping it. The water was against his bottom, soaking through his clothing. Yami looked at the phone. It was Mokuba.

He needed to call the police. He needed to...

He didn't have time for that, he needed to get out now! Yami struggled again against his seatbelt, before taking his Intelliglass phone and slamming it down onto the locking mechanism. The seatbelt released him, but not without damage to his phone. Whatever. Yami was practically splashing around in the car now. He grabbed the door to see if it would open. No. It was jammed from the collision.

What about the passenger door? The car was already starting to tilt sideways as it sank, so he had to crawl up to the passenger door. He was able to open it; but as he did, water started gushing into the car. He couldn't keep the door open to get out. He slammed it shut, coughing out water that had flooded against him. He was up to his chin.

He was going to drown, wasn't he?

Maybe if he busted a hole open in the windshield, he could swim out? He was small, and it was already mostly shattered from the accident. That was his only hope, wasn't it?

Yami turned away from the door, looking at the windshield. He knew better than to try to use his hands, lest he wanted to just cut himself open. He tried anchoring himself against a seat, and his used his feet to kick against the window. Crunching glass was the answer to each kick. Yami grunted and panted with each kick. The car was filling up enough to where he had to tilt his head upwards to be able to keep breathing.

He wasn't going to make it.

Yami took what he knew was going to be his last breath. Even so, he continued kicking against the window. Everything was a deep blue now, almost black as night. The car must have sank deep into the bay by now. He stopped kicking. Yami just sat there, eyes wide as he stared out the windshield.

Kaiba. Three years. He'd only had three years. They were the best years of his life. Why couldn't he of had more time? Why?

Yami was holding his breath still, but it was painful. He wondered if he was crying. He couldn't tell, surrounded by water. His last words to Kaiba had been forgetful. He wished he'd spent more time with Siamun and Mokuba. He wished...

...He knew what his name was.

A dark shadow appeared before him, beyond the glass. Yami could barely see, but he could make out a figure of a man, with what looked to be a cone-shaped head. Floating fabric cascaded in the dark water like silk. He could feel an intense stare on him. The figure pointed what looked to be a huge staff towards the window, slow and deliberate.

The glass cracked again. In an instant it shattered, and Yami's eyes closed as he felt glass shards cut across his arms and face. He could smell his blood in the water. The twenty-something-year-old let out a long scream underwater... and when Yami gasped for air-

His lungs hurt.

Everything went black.

Hello everyone. Thank you for being patient... it was a year since the last update, but things have calmed down and everything is back to normal. Hopefully you will see more frequent updates in the future!

Regards, Pharaoh.

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